This past summer, as I was working to finalize my manuscript, I had the opportunity to go to the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY (thanks in no small part to an archive-sponsored research fellowship). The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play is — I am not exaggerating — a magical place. It is a conventional archive, in that you sit in a very cold room, and you write only in pencil, and helpful people (very helpful people!) bring you things from somewhere in the back in boxes. But, it is an amazing archive for what they have. The things brought from the back included early Atari promotional materials, trade journals (still rich with stale smoke) I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else, catalogs, posters, promotional photographs and company newsletters and magazines I’d never heard of. There were so many trade journals they necessitated a rolling cart. I spent two weeks going through them in detail, building another pile of Xeroces, this one so massive that I had to buy an extra carry-on bag for my flight back to Chicago. There were also the things that couldn’t be rolled out. At one point, I was led to one of the archive’s working rooms, filled to the brim with electronic games, to look at a Death Race cabinet that was in the middle of restoration.

(via Archives I Have Loved: Video Game Research in the Dustbin of History | Carly A. Kocurek, PhD – Games, Scholarship, Media)

A snippet from a researcher who is working to seek insights from game history, and one of the archives where conservation is happening.

May 31, 2015